Thursday, September 19, 2013

Desmond Jennings Gets Redemption in 12th as Rays Top Rangers; Adam Wainwright Stars at the Plate in St. Louis Victory

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 18, 2013

American League

After misjudging a line shot off the bat of Leonys Martin resulting in a two-run second-inning triple, all Tampa Bay center fielder Desmond Jennings wanted was a chance for redemption.

Jennings delivers
game-winner for Rays
It took ten more innings, but finally, in the bottom of the 12th, Jennings delivered the eventual game-winner, a two-out single to right field that plated pinch-runner, Sam Fuld, for a 4-3 Tampa Bay victory.

The win for the Rays was their second of three in the four-game series with Texas, leaving the Rangers a game behind the Rays in the wild card race, but still clinging to a 1/2 game edge over Cleveland for the second spot.

Jennings finished 3-for-5, with another single and a double, but was left stranded on both occasions. The Rays had tied the game at 2-2 when Sean Rodriguez socked a two-run homer off Texas starter, Derek Holland, and the game remained at that score until the 11th, when each team scored a run in their half of the inning.

With Baltimore, New York winning and Kansas City beating Cleveland, 7-2, the AL wild card situation became even tighter, with all six contending teams within 3 1/2 games of each other, the five vying for the final wild card all within 2 1/2.

The Rangers and Rays wrap up the series Thursday night, 7:10 pm EDT at Tropicana Field in Tampa.

AL Wild Card Standings (through 9/18)
Team GB
Tampa Bay +1
Texas --
Cleveland -1/2
Baltimore -1
NY Yankees -2 1/2
Kansas City -2 1/2

National League

Adam Wainwright wasn't pitching as well as he normally does, so he let his bat do the talking as he led the St. Louis Cardinals to a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

The Cardinal starter improved to 17-9 with a stellar plate performance, going 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. In 7 2/3 innings of work on the mound, Wainright surrendered three runs on 10 hits, walking one and getting eight Rockies on strikeouts, throwing an incredibly-high 89 of 112 pitches for strikes.

3-3, 2RBI
Wainwright's better contributions were at the plate and on the bases, however. After giving the Rockies a 2-0 lead in a shaky first inning, Wainwright doubled in the Cardinals' first run and then tied the game, scoring on Matt Carpenter's single to right.

In the fourth, Wainwright gave his team the lead at 3-2, singling home Yadier Molina. Molina singled in another run for the Cardinals in the fifth, before Wainwright allowed the last of the Rockies' runs in the sixth for the 4-3 final.

The St. Louis win pushed them to a two-game lead over the Pirates, losers of three straight, in the NL Central. Cincinnati defeated Houston, 6-5, in 13 innings, and are 2 1/2 games behind St. Louis. All three teams are virtually assured of reaching the playoffs, though the Cardinals find themselves in the enviable position of leading the division. The Pirates and Reds, should they continue on to capture the two NL wild card positions, would have to play each other in a one-game playoff.

St. Louis leads the series at Colorado, two games to one and wraps up on Thursday afternoon at 3:10 pm EDT at Coors Field in Denver.

Today's Trivia: Now the Washington Nationals, the Montreal Expos were a NL franchise from 1969 to 2004. During that span, the team produced two NL batting champions, one in 1982, the other in 1986. Who were these Montreal batsmen? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Bill Madlock won back-to-back NL batting titles in 1975 and '76, then went to the Pirates, winning two more titles in 1981 and 1983.

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